Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The right to call someone a "faggot": intolerance as nobility

I happen to agree with only one of the many "principles" motivating Georgia Tech senior Ruth Malhotra, who is suing her school over its tolerance policies that she believes discriminate against her as a Christian -- she should be able to be as loud in her bigotry as she wants to be.

Outside of that, the law suit has to be the most vacuous bit of nonsense I've heard of in a long time. What she really wants is the right to harrass others while herself being free of harrassment.
... the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she's a senior, bans speech that puts down others because of their sexual orientation.

Malhotra sees that as an unacceptable infringement on her right to religious expression. So she's demanding that Georgia Tech revoke its tolerance policy.
What makes this so special is that young Ruth has the convenience of fighting discrimination by Georgia Tech -- an institution -- a form of discrimination that's on a different level than that of discrimination by an individual:
With her lawsuit, the 22-year-old student joins a growing campaign to force public schools, state colleges and private workplaces to eliminate policies protecting gays and lesbians from harassment. The religious right aims to overturn a broad range of common tolerance programs: diversity training that promotes acceptance of gays and lesbians, speech codes that ban harsh words against homosexuality, anti-discrimination policies that require college clubs to open their membership to all.

The Rev. Rick Scarborough, a leading evangelical, frames the movement as the civil rights struggle of the 21st century. "Christians," he said, "are going to have to take a stand for the right to be Christian."
Well, sign me up! I've never heard anything so inspirational! This Scarborough is right up there with the Rev. Martin Luther King and Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola.

Seriously, these people believe that they are going to win converts with this.

Does Malhotra's effort fail the Areopagus Test? At first glance, it doesn't. Malhotra wishes to be free to express her views. But on closer inspection, we see that her exertion is actually aimed at political marginalization -- by actively opposing tolerance training in a law suit, she hopes that others will be intolerant. As an (emotionally crippled) individual, she may choose to advance that marginalization, but to do so explicitly as a Christian means that her effort fails the test.

How could she pass the test? Say her peace and walk away.

2 comments:

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

One for them! is the motto of our times ;=)

Daniel said...

This is the juxtaposition of the case of Jason Johnson, a 20-year-old University of the Cumberlands student, who has been expelled from the Williamsburg, KY, school for being outed as gay on his MySpace page, a violation of this university policy:

“Any student who engages in or promotes sexual behavior not consistent with Christian principles (including sex outside marriage and homosexuality) may be suspended or asked to withdraw from the University of the Cumberlands.”

The University's response: “At the University of the Cumberlands, we hold students to a higher standard. Students know the rules before they come to this institution. We’ve followed our policies and procedures in keeping with our traditional denominational beliefs.

“University of the Cumberlands isn’t for everyone. We tell prospective students about our high standards before they come."

Except, they didn't tell him about the policy. When he enrolled the policy was much more vague, something like "conduct in keeping with the University's standards", without any actual statement of the standards.

So, now, after he spent 2+ years (and who knows how much $) at the school, they have expelled him for violating a policy that was not clearly stated when he enrolled.

Yep, you can bet he's going to sue them. If they don't want him at Cumberland, they need to just agree to pay for his education somewhere else. I'm a Christian and think that Christian institutions have a right to enforce Christian standards, but let's state those standards up front and not go changing the rules in the middle of the game.